The Selfie Effect


Arms stretched. Head cocked. Click. Low light. Try again. Arms stretched. Smile. No teeth. Click. Damn. Cock-eyed. Try again. Arms stretched. Side shot. Pout. Click. Cute. Not cute enough though. Try again. Click. One arm this time. Invoke Yonce. Squint, but sexily. Flawless! Wait. Not really. Try again. Click. Click. Click.

What are we seeking in the perfect selfie? Are we trying to uncover some glorious hidden part of ourselves? Are we creating an illusion for others? Is it conceit? Is it the pursuit of perfection? Or is it just about wanting to put our best face forward at all times? And is this exhausting or even the best use of our time?

I think it depends on the person, but I see a life parallel here. Follow me.

Many of us spend a lifetime trying to get to perfection – the perfect outfit, the perfect haircut, the perfect love, the perfect job, or the perfect home – only to find out that despite our best intentions, improvements can be made to anything, which means it wasn’t actually perfect. So why can’t we just leave well enough alone? Or would that make us mediocre, complacent, or not persistent enough?

I think the selfie represents the eternal pursuit of our best life. We’re always trying to gain more, get better and reach higher than we are, and at any cost.  And the question is – Should we?

Yes and no. Perfection might be an illusion. If not, it’s definitely a moving target. Another rat race. What’s perfect depends on our mood, situation, perspective, and intentions and all of these things shift, day to day. Therefore, chasing something that isn’t really there could be perceived as futile, pathetic, misguided, or even neurotic. Maybe we follow John Legend’s advice and love our “perfect imperfections.” Maybe the pursuit of our best life doesn’t mean that everything has to be perfect or even the best, just perfect for us or good enough for us.

There’s a place in our perfection-obsessed society for being satisfied with what is. There’s a place for self-acceptance, even in our ugly, ordinary or imperfect moments. Let’s be okay with not being quite done or having things out of place. Embrace the process. Appreciate the growth. We might even reduce some of the pressure, stress, endless competition, and unrealistic expectations that we place on ourselves. Maybe. And as I write this, I’m still deciding on the perfect selfie to post at the end of this not quite perfect essay. Click. I think I’ve got it, even if I don’t. Good night!



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